Why the Resident Evil 7 Demo Works

     As I slowly make my way down the ladder, with my soon-to-be-dead companion cheering me on with each step at the top, I wonder if we will find the other member of our party that so conveniently wandered off in a house that is looking more reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with every passing moment. It seems that I have been climbing down for at least 15 seconds now, but by the looks of this obviously make-shift hidden entrance to the basement, there is really no telling when my feet will finally hit the ground and I can resume investigating my surroundings. As I finally find the floor, I struggle to grasp what I am actually looking at as I slowly reposition myself, completely expecting a jump scare. Why not? After all, it would be the easy thing to do. Instead I am greeted with rusted pipes in some type of a underground passage, but faintly in the near distance I can just make out the figure of our missing person, Andre. As I courageously decide to move closer when I realize that he is facing the opposite direction of me and standing still. Way too still… I place my hand on his shoulder to tell him we need to get out of here, but it’s to my horror that I realize that someone or some thing had shoved him mouth open on to a pipe sticking out of the wall. I fall backwards on to the mud underneath me, just in time to see a pair of old workman boots making their way up to me, cast in the light of my camera. My world goes dark once more…

     This is only a short 30 second piece of the full Resident Evil 7: Biohazard demo that is being offered for free on you platform marketplace, and a brief glimpse into the full game set to launch on Jan 24th, 2017. I was able to complete the demo from beginning to “end” during my first run through, but with the deployability and the fact that I continue to find new things and entirely different endings, I have sunk more than 5 hours into this demo. For context, I could play almost the entirety of The Order: 1886 in this length of time, so to answer many of your questions thus far, yes- I like this demo. A lot. 

     While producer Kawada Masachika and director Nakanish Koushi, have already confirmed that this demo is not necessarily a piece of the final product, taken to allow players to sample, but merely a look into the tone and “feeling” of the full version. Let me safely say, that if this game is even half as good as what the demo implies, this will be easily be the best Resident Evil entry since number 4 (not difficult, I know). In every controller gripping/high tension filled moment of this glimpse, it is apparent that they have finally walked away from the attempt at making the franchise a Shooter, and instead doubled down on the concepts that made this IP so beloved in the first place.

     A sense of unease and dread around every corner and of course the puzzle-like way you have to make your way through the game, the demo is a call back to everything that made the original entry so great. At this point, my only hope is that they take their time to give the final product the love and attention that they did with this sample. Last we heard, that game was about 65% of the way complete through development (fact credit: famitsu)a few weeks ago at E32016, and with a release date of January 25th, I worry they will try to rush. While it is obvious that Capcom has every intension of hitting this timeline, with the recent re-releases of the series and ending with Resident Evil 4 this fall, a deployment strategy leading up to the launch of the latest installment. Capcom, do NOT rush this game. 

     If you haven’t already checked out the demo for Resident Evil 7, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. If you’re the type that gets nervous at the thought of playing horror games, get a buddy and play through it together. I promise, it is that good. With the reveal of full PS VR integration, this game will do huge numbers, already looking to be a clear flagship for the sony platform. However, regardless of where or how you play it, just do. This is the Resident Evil that we have been clamoring over for years. 

     Now what the hell am I supposed to do with this dam mannequin finger….

Sony Needs to Wait on the PSNeo

     It’s no secret that this fall will be an important one for Sony. With the impending release of  The Last Guardian, a game that many have believed a myth, to the introduction of their VR platform, PS VR, it cannot be overstated how careful they must be in every move they make. This is not the time to start looking into introducing the next iteration of the PlayStation ecosystem; they need to wait.

     CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment(SIE), Andrew House revealed that the existence of a more powerful PlayStation 4 during an interview with The Financial Times, in the weeks leading up to E32016. However, House confirmed the console would not be revealed at the expo, as it was not the right time for the unveiling. New rumors are now circulating that the console should be expected to release sometime before the end of the 2016 calendar year. This leaves me with really only one question: why now?

     Now before we go to far down the rabbit hole on something that has not even been confirmed as of yet, Sony has been incredibly smart in all of their moves this generation thus far, so I would preface this discussion with a large grain of salt before we have confirmation. Now that we have that prefaced, let’s take a look at the possibility if this is true.

     Who would this console iteration be targeted at? As of right this moment, Sony has got to be banking on their hardcore audience is reserved and ready to go for the PS VR launch early this October. It would be crazy to assume that this group of people would double down on a console purchase, at the same time they are already picking up their $400 VR device. If it’s for the consumer that has waited thus far to purchase a PS4, this most likely implies that they are waiting on one of two things: the right price, or the right game. House confirmed that the next iteration would not have console exclusives, but sit side by side with the current platform… So no games that would drive this consumer. As for the price, the introduction of a higher end model would most likely imply the price drop of your existing, meaning your average “Joe” is more likely to pick up the older version for a better price. 

     This next console, the PlayStation Neo, the PS4k, whatever you would like to call it, is going to need the hard core Sony fanbase in order to succeed. Period. So to introduce this product when they just went out to buy your latest VR headset, would be suicide for the future of the platform and would split the market before you ever get either device off the ground. The average gamer only has so much money to toss around, and Mom & Dad will only make one unnecessary purchase to put under the christmas tree this year. Which will it be? And it’s this mentality that will force losses on the sales numbers before either hit store shelves.

     You might be asking, “When?” at this point. if it were me, I would hold the console for sometime next fall. Let the PS VR get off the ground and build confidence in that platform before you start bleeding the consumers wallet for the next one. If it’s not broke, then don’t fix it- and at 40+million units sold thus far into the console generation, Sony has no reason to rush a new model to market. Just take your time, Sony. You’re holding all the cards, no point in showing your hand before it’s needed.

Why You Should Temper Your “The Last Guardians” Expectations

It’s crazy to think that The Last Guardian has been in development since 2007, the same year that games such as Gran Turismo 5 &  Infamous (the first entry in the now 3 part series) was announced at E3. Needless to say,  Studio Japan has had some problems with the development of the game. However, if rumor is to be believed for E32016, we should get a hard release date for the title. For me personally, I don’t believe the game exists until I am holding it in my hands.

Going into E32016 I have heard the hype train build the imminent release date of the game as “Sony’s final big reveal”. C’mon now, let’s be realistic as to what the game actually is  and is not. As much as I am excited to get my hands on this game, I know that this games legend has far surpassed what the reality of what the game will prove. In terms of ratings, I am banking on a solid “B”. Now before you throw your drink at the screen, or automatically scroll down to the comments to tell me that I am “out of my damn mind”, listen to my reasoning as to why we need to relax on the expectations of this game. 

This game will not do huge numbers. Don’t get me wrong, this game will sell well and receive average grades across the media spectrum, but the previous game that Studio Japan put out, Shadow of the Colossus, sold 140 thousand copies the first week that it was on the market. To put that into context real quick, Uncharted 4 sold over 2.7 million copies in its first week. And that is a flagship title in its 4th and final (supposedly) iteration. I am sorry, but you can’t expect this game to move console units of any significance. 

The Last Guardian has been in evelopment hell since 2007. The ICO collection was released back in 2011, with a semi decent reception critic wise,  was the same year that I expect that Sony had originally wanted to release The Last Guardian, However, the collection came and went without any promise of the forthcoming followup. This was on a previous console iteration, the PS3, now with a whole new console cycle many expect The Last Guardian to compete with an expected fall release date, side by side with franchise flagships Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warefare, inal Fantasy XV. Needless to say, it is going to have a tough time finding its legs in the sales market with games like that. For those of you that hope Sony will back it with a solid marketing campaign, just remember that they are going to be introducing a new way to experience games, PSVR, along with an expected launch of a slimmer console. Now if you were Sony, would you put your money into the headset that you are building your platform around, or the game that has struggled to release to market for nearly a decade?

Now, don’t get me wrong, this article is not being written to bash this title in anyway. I am anxious to get my hands on the final product, as well as you are- I am sure. I want to help guide those that believe that The Last Guardian will lead the “Sony Fall Lineup”, to understand what will most likely happen. If it were me, I would put the advertising behind this gorgeous game. I would make sure that I didn’t postpone it for nothing, and make sure that the first time someone actually lays hands on it will enjoy the final product. But it’s not up to me. The ball is in Sony’s court. 

What do you think? Am I absolutely wrong, and this game will be the next Minecraft? Or do you think that I may be on to something here? Let me know in the comments below! 

Why I am a believer in VR

2016 is quickly becoming the “Year of VR”, but why does that matter and how does that affect you? What stops this from being another gimmick and why on earth should I consider dropping another couple hundred dollars on a piece of tech that will inevitably fade out in a few years? The answer to these popular questions is actually quite simple, because VR is here to stay.     

For the person that was asking all of these questions, let me be there first to tell you, I was in your shoes at one time. I was probably one of the most apprehensive hardcore sony fans there was to the news that they were promoting another external piece of hardware. That is, until I actually played it

At PSX 2015, I got to sit down and spend a little over an hour with the PSVR, and since that time I have literally been bidding my time to get my hands on the final product. During my play sessions, I got to check out the ever popular London Heist  demo along with the promising FPS RIGS. In both circumstances I was blown away by several things. First, the hardware was comfortable to wear- any gamer that has sat down for a 6 hour game session can appreciate how vital this is. You need to be able to wear the device for a period of time without thinking, “Man, this thing is really killing my neck”. 

Second, if you have never sat down with any VR device thus far, you owe it to yourself to hold your judgements before you get play time with it. It really is game changing(pardon the pun). At one point during my session with RIGS in which you literally aim with your face (jarring to think about but actually very smooth once in flight), I was able to stride to my right, look to my left to see where the competition was with their key player on a run towards the goal, and start shooting the opposite direction. This ability would literally be impossible to accomplish with a normal paddle, and with only 15 minutes into my match, I was successfully completing this task with ease.

Now the statement that I normally have to fight off is, “You and I both know this is going to be another gimmick like the PlayStation Move”. The fact is that with PSVR, the possibilities of use only begin with gaming. Just imagine the day when your favorite sports team is offering a season ticket virtual program in which you put on your headset and you are curtsied at the lakers game watching him throw a bucket of popcorn at the ref. It’s possibilities like these that only begin to open the door of opportunities like that. 

While this may not be the year that you find a VR device in your living room, whether it be the PSVE, HTC Vive, or the Oculus, this will most likely be the year in which you find yourself at a party, friends house, or just at the mall with a unit available to demo. You owe it to yourself to pick it up and gain some valid opinions of your own. Trust me, it’s worth your time. 

Now, what do you think? Have you demoed a device yet? Or is there already one sitting in your house and you could not care less? Please, let us know in the comments below!